Perhaps more than many restaurants, Fifty has a lot to live up to. The restaurant, which opened mid-July, occupies the site of several well-regarded restaurants, most recently Chef Harold Moore's Commerce, which shuttered a year ago following a dispute with the landlord. Interestingly, it's now the landlord's son, Alex Kingman, who's taken the reins at the space, with Chef Luis Jaramillo executing seafood-heavy menu touching the chef's Ecuadorian roots.
"I'm kind of lucky that this spot would be available because I feel like this kind of place doesn't turn over that often," Kingman, who literally grew up above the space, told WWD. "This is a special place, for sure. All the history of restaurants—Grange Hall, The Blue Mill Tavern and, more recently, Commerce. It's important to us to do justice to the history."
That the bounty of the sea has such a strong role to play at Fifty comes as no surprise, as Jaramillo worked at Blue Water Grill before landing this new gig. The chef appears enamored with trout, employing the roe and fried skin his Smoked Trout Deviled Eggs ($3 each); a raw presentation of Steelhead Trout Crudo ($16) with ponzu, seaweed and tapioca; and a whole fish Butterflied Trout ($30) presentation, served with Mexican corn salad and bacon. Meatier Octopus ($18)—a generous portion of it—gets a Mediterranean treatment aided by the brightness of cilantro.
Non-seafood options span the extra meaty Grilled Hanger Steak ($29) with spicy chimichurri, shishito peppers, fingerling potatoes and garlic confit aioli, and Tomato Braised Goat Ribs ($28), served with black rice and avocado. On the other end: lots for vegetarians, too, including Roasted Maitake Mushrooms ($15) with almond cream and an esquites-esque Off the Cob Corn Salad ($12) with lite mayo, crumbly cotija cheese and bacon.
The cheery mural that graced that back wall during the Commerce era was taken down when the restaurant closed, and the space has been given a more somber makeover. Creams and reds are now blacks, browns and whites, but otherwise the bones are the same.
50 Commerce Street